Jose M. Yrizarry, Columnist

ABOUT JOSE M. YRIZARRY: Former editor and writer for the New Tomorrow, a monthly newspaper published in the lower East Side in New York City. Recently joined the Buffalo Latino Village. Jose lives in Norfolk, Connecticut. Jose is also an established poet, author of two books of poems, is present in Youtube, and shares with work on Facebook where he has a large following.
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EMPOWERING COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

October 2020
Did you wonder how your taxes are spent only to feel helpless. Ever wonder how much of your tax dollars pay for sustaining the lifestyle of civil servants in the Senate, Congress, etc? You won’t believe how much. If officials were listening to the cry of their constituents, “enough of President Trump”  (a strong opinion shared among many everyday people), how is it that the Senate, (representing the peoples’ voice), can refuse to impeach the president? Obviously, either somebody is not listening, or somebody is not screaming loud enough. If they are not listening to that cry, can you expect such officials to listen to community cries for local services? It’s time help empower good-old grassroot community based organizations (CBOs) to lead the way, to enable them to take actions beyond simple protests, and begin dethroning procedures against negligent officials — Officials entrusted with the obligation to insure that community or local needs and concerns are in good hands.
Such actions require time and money, often not available to grassroot organizations.  But if fighting for a legal community grievance is governed by affordability, then let the government foot the bill! If a difference arises between community and some civic service/servant requiring court preceding’s, let the whole community withhold state and federal taxes; open an account, place the taxes in it, and let “grassroot community organizations” finance what needs to be done. If ousting a negligent civil official becomes necessary, then letting them hide behind a community’s inability to afford the time and money is more than unfair. It’s another form of dictatorship — Capitalism! Face it, if you don’t want your taxes spent on things like the military or paying exorbitant expenses on civil servants, if you prefer seeing it spent on something locally being overlooked,  why not pay your taxes to a local community trust fund for CBOs to address those needs? You are still paying taxes! As a matter of fact, I doubt such actions must be carried out. I believe that the threat of a resolved people taking such action would suffice. Consider the following: There are already 7 states (Alaska, Florida. Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming) running their infrastructure without income tax. It took some thoughtful dialog among minds far more in depth than mine or yours. Surely, there are places on the internet to get all the relevant information on the “how to.”  Believe me, what little I was able to get was not only fought for by tooth and nail, but had little to offer as well. It took a lot of digging to come with things like …“Tax withholding refers to the portion of an employee’s gross wages that is retained by an employer for remittance to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)” and “Two main types of taxes are typically withheld—regular income taxes and Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes”…
I also found something interesting: “Exempt income is any income that isn’t subject to federal tax. The types and thresholds for exempt income can be changed through the political process.” So, let us press the political process. However, we are not supposed to fully understand and carry out the involved mechanics for solving issues. That is what officials are paid for,  to restore/maintain and/or repair/replace whatever! You pick it! And push for action!

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 THE NEED FOR COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT

September 2020
In more ways than one, its hot! The desire to stay indoors nice and cool (for some) is strong. Global pandemic threats to take one’s life, and change the course of human history, makes staying home easy.
But what of the natural need for human interaction? What of the potential increase of varied forms of addictions:  drugs, alcohol, and gambling to ease boredom and near forced isolation/incarceration. What of the potential for suicides due to isolation and financial hardships?  It happened during the great depression. If there is still a belief in a higher power – let God help us all!
Government leadership is in a strangle hold due to partisan ideologies having little to do with public concerns. With media’s bombarding daily issues impeding on the sense of security, can we count on voters casting informed ballots during coming elections? Make no mistake “America is burning!
 It’s time for “we the people” to turn to and empower grassroots community organizations (CBO’s) to take actions beyond simple protests and begin threatening to dethrone negligent officials entrusted to assure THE PEOPLES overall social needs are met. Trust is earned, not given!
Am I promoting anarchy? Certainly not! We need leadership. We need people of great integrity, resolve and humility to occupy public office. Delivering needed community services is their job! Would you accept poor service when you shop or pay for a service left incomplete. Public officers aren’t supposed to be in “private clubs” for the “good old boys” to enjoy power and exchange favors. They are there to exercise their power to assure community well-being.
The pressing question is HOW? How to hold these “officials” accountable? We need stronger CBOs to assure community issues are presented and heard. Leadership today feels seemingly insulated from the threat of immediate impeachment Thus, people feel stuck with wrong selections. People have the right to submit impeachment proceedings against any official when necessary.
Media should report on-going public updates until the presented issues are resolved. That would put heat on civil servants to deliver and avoid bad publicity. Is this the answer? it’s a good start! Empower CBO’s and may God help us all play our rightful roles!
Next edition: withholding state and federal taxes.